Air Purifiers Vs. Humidifiers – How Do They Affect Air Quality?

Both air purifiers and humidifiers are responsible for the betterment of a home environment. They help to remove harmful contaminants and regulate the moisture level of the surrounding air.

But air purifiers vs. humidifiers – do they affect the air quality?

Basically, air purifiers and humidifiers can both increase the air quality of your home environment, but they provide different benefits.

You can use either of them or can also consider both according to the air quality of your house.

This article is all about the mechanism and benefits of air purifiers and humidifiers, along with their impact on indoor air.

Besides, you will also learn about the key factors of using them for different purposes and environmental conditions.

Differences Between Air Purifiers Vs. Humidifiers

You will find air purifiers and humidifiers of various brands and models providing a huge range of features for the betterment of your home environment.

There are certain dissimilarities that make these two devices different from each other. So, let us go through the basic differences between air purifiers vs. humidifiers.

1.    Construction

Air Purifiers

The basic components of an air purifier are single or multiple filters, a fan, and a housing. The filter is the main component that purifies the air and removes harmful elements.

Air is circulated through the fan, and this whole construction is installed inside a housing.

According to the capacity and features of air purifiers, the filters can be different to serve various purposes.

Generally, UV-c filters, air filters, HEPA filters, and activated carbon filters are used in most air purifiers.


A humidifier also consists of three main parts, which are: a fan, a water reservoir, and a wick. The fan of a humidifier ensures proper air circulation through it.

Basically, the wick is a part of the water reservoir, and often, some humidifiers, like the ultrasonic ones, do not contain any wick.

By absorbing water from the water reservoir, the wick ensures a larger surface for the water to evaporate efficiently.

2.    Working Mechanism

Air Purifiers

The air filtration technology is different for various models of air purifiers. But, the basic working mechanism is almost the same by which the polluted air enters the filter and flows back to the environment.

When the unnecessary pollutants are pulled into the filter through the fan, the filter damages or removes the pollutants and circulates purified air back into the house.

This process of purification repeats continuously until the air purifier is switched OFF.


A humidifier can be easily compared with a kettle that boils water and produces steam.

The water in the humidifier reservoir starts to boil after reaching the boiling point. Then, it produces steam and emits vapor into the air.

The process of emitting water vapor can be different according to the model and type of humidifier.

Some humidifiers cool the water vapor before releasing it into the air. In such cases, the cooling process is maintained by a fan.

3.    Types

Air Purifiers

Basically, there are five basic types of air purifiers that you will mostly find in the markets. These include –

  1. Air purifiers with HEPA filters
  2. UV technology-based air purifiers
  3. Air purifiers with activated carbon filters
  4. Ozone air purifiers
  5. Negative Ion air purifiers

The main difference among these air purifiers is the use of different technologies and filters.

You can choose them according to your desired purposes and the environmental conditions of your house.


On the other hand, humidifiers can be of two main types, these include –

  1. Ultrasonic humidifier
  2. Evaporative humidifier

Basically, the difference in the process of releasing water vapor into the air makes these humidifiers different from each other.

The ultrasonic humidifier provides a larger surface area for the water to evaporate by exploding into the air. As a result, the air around you become humid in a short time.

On the contrary, the evaporative humidifier uses a fan to blow the water vapor into the air ensuring a high evaporation rate.

4.    Impact on Indoor Air

Air purifiers

These are game changers to make the indoor air free from different types of pollutants. Whether chemical or living contaminants, they work quite well to provide fresh and clean air inside our house.

Air purifiers with UV lights and HEPA filters can effectively make the microorganisms inactive so that they cannot affect the human body and spread diseases.

Activated carbon filter-based air purifiers are great for removing toxic gasses, fumes, and smoke from the air.


On the other hand, humidifiers are not for preventing pollutants but for increasing air quality by maintaining the proper moisture level.

Mostly in the winter season, the indoor air often becomes too dry, which gives rise to several infections and other health issues. A humidifier adds water vapor to the indoor air and increases the moisture level.

As a result, the moisture level of your surrounding air remains balanced, and you can be free from irritation and allergies.

Air Purifier Vs. Humidifier – The Right One for Your Home

Research says the indoor air quality is several times lower than the outdoor air, which makes us more concerned about increasing the air quality of our houses.

Both air purifiers and humidifiers are essential for the betterment of the indoor environment, but they are beneficial for different purposes.

So, are you confused about air purifiers vs. humidifiers: which one is right for you?

Here we will learn about the uses of air purifiers and humidifiers depending on various factors in different air conditions.

This will help you to decide whether you need an air purifier or a humidifier.

Removing Microorganisms

You can use air purifiers to remove harmful microorganisms like different viruses and bacteria from the indoor air.

Because the air purifier filters attack the living cells of these microorganisms and make them inactive.

If you wonder, does a humidifier work as an air purifier; actually, humidifiers do not directly impact the number of microorganisms.

But they can affect the growth of these contaminants by maintaining the humidity level of the air.

Adding Moisture to the Indoor Air

If we talk about regulating the optimum moisture level, nothing can beat humidifiers.

As dry indoor air can cause health complications and also give rise to several biological contaminants, humidifiers prevent these issues by adding essential moisture to the air.

But air purifiers can’t help with the dryness of indoor air and make any difference to the moisture level.

In case you have issues with the moisture level of the air inside your house, it is better to use a humidifier instead of an air purifier.

Preventing Chemical Pollutants and Toxic Gasses

Various radioactive and toxic gasses like radon, helium, and carbon monoxide are often found in the indoor air, which is an alarming issue for any homeowner.

In such cases, you should always choose an effective air purifier rather than a humidifier.

Because humidifiers are just for maintaining the dryness and moisture of the air, they can’t help gases and smoke from flowing into the indoor air.

Air purifiers with HEPA and activated carbon filters are highly recommended for this purpose.

Reducing Allergens

If you want to know what is better for allergies – a humidifier or an air purifier; actually, both humidifiers and air purifiers are effective at removing allergens.

Basically, allergens can be produced from certain biological contaminants like molds. You will need HEPA filter-based air purifiers to remove them from the indoor air.

On the other hand, humidifiers prevent molds and allergens from growing in the indoor air, which reduces the chance of allergen effects on the human body.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.    Which one is more suitable, air purifier vs humidifier for covid?

The EPA recommends using humidifiers to ensure minimum protection against covid. As covid can be more dangerous in a dry atmosphere, humidifiers can reduce the dryness and add moisture to the air, making it less prone to covid.

2.    What is a 2-in-1 air purifier and humidifier?

There are certain air purifiers that have an extra humidity sensor and work as a 2-in-1 air purifier and humidifier. It removes pollutants like microorganisms and dust particles, while the humidity sensor detects the humidity of the air and adjusts the moisture level.

3.    Air purifier vs humidifier- which one to choose for sinus?

Air purifiers can impact to an extent to prevent sinus-related issues. But they are not so effective for this purpose. It is better to use humidifiers for sinus problems as they reduce the dryness of the air by adding moisture.

4.    Air purifier or humidifier- which is better for asthma?

As asthma is caused by allergic effects, air purifiers with HEPA filters are better to use in such cases. Air purifiers can remove allergens to a great extent. Humidifiers make the process more efficient by reducing the effect of allergens.

5.    Air purifier vs humidifier- which one is essential for a baby?

Both humidifiers and air purifiers are necessary to maintain a harmless indoor environment for your baby. An air purifier will remove various pollutants from the air, while a humidifier will maintain the optimum level of moisture.

6.    Air purifier vs humidifier- which one to choose for eczema?

To reduce the effects of eczema, it is definitely better to choose a humidifier for your house. As dry and low humid levels of the air trigger the symptoms and effects of eczema, a humidifier is the best option to consider.

Final Words

Basically, air purifiers and humidifiers are both effective in increasing the indoor air quality of your house. So hopefully, this article helped you to learn about air purifiers vs. humidifiers – whether they affect the air quality or not.

You should consider the air condition and moisture level of your house before choosing air purifiers and humidifiers. Maintain the filters well by checking and cleaning them properly.

Last Updated on April 1, 2023

Photo of author

Billy J. Weber

Hi. It’s Weber, founder and author of this site Currently you are reading. I am dedicated to provide valuable insights and practical tips to air enthusiasts and anyone interested in improving their indoor air quality.

Leave a Comment